Orwell imagines a kind of impossibly cosy past—the past as a sort of farmhouse kitchen with hams hanging from the rafters, a smell of old dog. As a Socialist, he should have been wary of the past. Once you start to yearn for kindly policemen, clean air, noisy free speech in pubs, families sticking together, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, the fug of the old music hall, you end up by touching your forelock to the squire. … There’s a part of Orwell that fears the future. Even when it’s Socialist, progressive, just, egalitarian. He wants to oppose the past to it, as though the past were a real world of solid objects.
2 thoughts on “Strange Quote of the Day: Anthony Burgess”
Surely he who taught us so much about the nature of the totalitarian impulse should have been able to see the essential link between socialism and totalitarianism. Not so. Surely he who peered unflinchingly into the face of evil should have been able to see that evil must fill the vacuum left when we push God out. Again, not so. Orwell is an enigma.
“as though the past were a real world of solid objects.” As if!!! Also, I had to look up “touching my forelock to the squire” cause I wanted to be sure I’m not doing it inadvertently.
1 n-count A forelock is a piece of hair that falls over your forehead. People often used to pull their forelocks to show respect for other people of a higher class than they were.
2 If you say that a person tugs their forelock to another person, you are criticizing them for showing too much respect to the second person or being unnecessarily worried about their opinions.
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